How 2020 Changed Our Life:
I was home over Christmas break from Indiana University while Mitch and I were sitting on our back deck one evening. Mitch recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He was a pole vaulter there and now he is an insurance agent in Olney, Illinois. I’m currently a senior at Indiana University majoring in Finance and Real Estate. We were chatting about trends and got on the subject of how big White Claws and all of the other slim can brands had gotten. That sparked some interest as to whether anyone had a slim can cooler out there. Having tried and failed on a few other businesses, I knew how to get prototypes and get manufacturing for these types of products so we had a sample the next week, but it had some major flaws. We went back and forth with the manufacturer on how to fix the lid and such, and they said they would go fix it for us. Well then the pandemic hit! Two months go by, and we hadn’t heard anything from our manufacturer so we naturally thought he just took the idea. We ended up finding another manufacturer that fixed our issues so we ordered 1000 slim can coolers to see if we really had something. In the mean time, our other manufacturer came back to us with a perfect design and we ended up ordering another 1000 because he said he could get them to us earlier.
Turns out both shipments arrived one week apart so it didn’t really matter 😅 I really wanted to learn about Facebook ads and have an e-commerce business so I studied up and tested Facebook ads for 3-4 months before getting product. To be honest, the ads never worked with our slims because there was so much competition by the time we received them in May (learning experience). I picked up the phone everyday in June at my college house in Bloomington and I dialed every liquor store and convenience store I could. Most of the time I would get a big fat no, but two different chains basically bought up all 2000 slim can coolers from us which was the greatest feeling in the world let me tell you! This allowed us to order 5 more colors and clean up the website a little bit to hopefully sell more there. In all of this craziness, we came across a concept of people not having to buy a koozie for their slim can, normal can, and bottle. We realized every company was making more money by selling 3 different sizes, but at the end of the day, the customer was losing.
This is where the Universal Buddy was invented! We went to our manufacturer with an idea to fit a 12oz can, 12oz slim can, AND a 12oz bottle all in one can cooler. We were sooo excited to get the first prototype...but it sucked haha It fit a slim can and that’s about it! But we knew exactly how to fix it, and 3-4 prototypes later, we finally had our Universal! It was perfect for every 12oz size so people didn’t need to bring multiple koozies or switch koozies anymore. We took the prototypes to the beach this summer, and we didn’t even realize how much of a game changer they were until we put them into action. The first time we took out a white claw and then seamlessly put in a normal bud light can was so awesome! Not to mention everyone around us was mind blown. We ended up ordering 3000 Universals (1000 black, 10000 white, 1000 stainless steel) to see if other people felt the same way we did.
I was still getting better with Facebook ads learning more everyday. I had an idea to make a short video of each size getting put in the can cooler to really shock people when they were scrolling because I knew they’d never seen anything like it. Great thing about being in college is we have free models 🙌😂 We took some friends out to the Lake Monroe in Bloomington to get as many photos and videos as we could. I told them they could drink while we get the videos so they were all in! Hours of cutting and editing later, I thought we had this awesome video finally (although looking back it was so bad haha). I put it to the test with a Facebook ad the next day and BAM...We were getting sales left and right. I couldn’t believe my eyes honestly. People were commenting, tagging friends, and sharing the video so I knew we had a winner. We ended up selling out in 3 weeks and decided to order 9 new colors. Since we are from the country in southern Illinois, we went wanted to do a USA flag, camo, and some other graphics and colors we thought people from our area would like. That’s when Frost Buddy really took off because people absolutely fell in love with the “Merica” and “Camo” Universals. The problem we have now is we just can’t keep things in stock and produce them fast enough! (Good problem to have haha)
Since then, we’ve added over 18 colors to our collection, we’ve added insulated dog bowls, and we are coming out with a unique stainless steel mug! Words can’t describe what this journey has been like so far. What started as a way for me to learn how to do Facebook and Google ads has turned into what most people think is this huge business! One of the funniest things we deal with is emails from customers that think we are this multimillion dollar business with a bunch of employees 😂 Mitch and I have learned so much about business, and we are continuing to learn everyday because that’s what you have to do as entrepreneurs. There are new problems every day and we just have to keep solving. A person we look up to said it best, “We are building the plane while we are flying it." If you would’ve told us a year ago that we would be ordering thousands of metal koozies, have thousands of happy and loyal customers, and be growing at the rate we are, we would have said you are insane. Just two small town brothers chasing a dream. We are so blessed to have Frost Buddy and we can’t wait to see where this goes! We hope to build long lasting relationships with all of our customers, and we want you to join along on this journey!
Brock & Mitch